restricted access Conclusion: Coming Back to Quirpini
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Conclusion: Coming Back to Quirpini Lives in Motion Whitman filled his poems with lists—of people, of names—lists of types, showing their dynamism, poignancy, or just their way of being part of the universal. I will begin to draw this book to a close with a much more particular list—biographical vignettes of some people and households, showing how their lives are put together out of multi-scaled movement, their own and others. This is a good way to start synthesizing the many different scales and kindsofplacesandactivitiesthatwehavecovered.Followingthesevignettes, I recap the different scales of spatial actions that make up life for Quirpinis, showing how they mutually implicate one another. This extended section is followed by a discussion of how anthropologists can approach issues of scale. I close by reviewing the main techniques I have employed in this book to elucidate the dynamic and multi-scalar reality my subjects lived. Tiburcio Puma Tiburcio was one of my neighbors in the upper part of Zona Villcasana, but he was not from there. He was from Pumakuna, in the southern Zona Sakapampa , an area (and a toponym) that appeared to be growing as families carrying the surname Puma expanded their contiguous landholdings. Tiburcio, a man in his late thirties, was born and grew up here, one of the children 252 · From Quirpini of Estéban Puma and Valentina Copa, both elderly by the time I did my fieldwork. Tiburcio started migrating to Argentina as a youth, and he quickly settled into a pattern of going there several months every year, doing mostly ditch-digging in Buenos Aires, although he once went to rural Mendoza. With the money he saved from this work, he began to buy land. Rather than continuing the Puma tendency to expand in their own corner of Sakapampa, he bought land in other parts of Quirpini: two hectares in Villcasana, where he settled his family, and another two across the river in Zona Quirpini. For campesinos in Quirpini, these are very large holdings. He was even able to partly opt out of the mink’a system, planting his land in Zona Quirpini (where he neither lived nor had close kin) by hiring other Quirpinis for the standard daily wage. Although no one was apparently bothered that he engaged in elite employment practices in addition to the socially inescapable mink’a, his land purchases had not gone without challenge. He bought the land in Villcasana from someone named Condori, who was moving permanently to Argentina; thelandbordersonthesmallerholdingsoftheseller’scousin,VictorCondori, who himself had hoped to buy the land. Victor still bore a grudge because a nonfamily member bought “Condori land,” and he went so far, when drunk, as to accuse Tiburcio of “stealing” the land. Everyone else, including Victor ’s brother, said that his argument was silly, and that Tiburcio’s right to the land was not in doubt. Tiburcio’s younger brother, also a frequent migrant , followed his brother’s example and bought a large, abandoned house in Villcasana with about two hectares of land and moved in there with his wife. This left their parents with only a single grandchild at home: Tiburcio’s daughter from a previous marriage. When he moved out of his father’s house, Tiburcio and his wife (Francisca , originally from the nearby highland community of Qhocha) set up a household on the land in Villcasana, and I knew him as a leading resident of Villcasana (by virtue of his wealth, reputation for hard work, and a friendly and generous character) and of Pumakuna (by virtue of his family’s importance there, as well as the above qualities). In the lists of resident households calledoutforattendanceateverycommunitymeeting,hiswastheonlyname called twice, once for Sakapampa and again for Villcasana. In fact, Tiburcio complained to me that he was too widely respected: he was invariably one of the first people who came to mind when his fellow Conclusion · 253 SakapampasorVillcasanaswerethinkingofapersontoengageasacompadre or to enlist for a socially beneficial task. As a result, he felt burdened by social obligations that distracted him from working his land and migrating. He appearedtohaveapproachedsomesortoflimitofthebenefitsofprestige ;given that much of his wealth came from working elsewhere, and that he seemed to have no intention of turning his prestige into a basis for covertly exploitative relationships, the demands on his time brought him limited benefit. Miguel Paco, Emiliana Puma, and Cirilo Paco ThemembersofthePacohouseholdofVillcasanahadtraveledincomplexbut restricted paths through their lives. Cirilo Paco, the elderly uncle of my host, Miguel, had traveled by burro to northern Argentina in the 1950s, back when the...


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